Positioning for Coaches – Where I Stand

It’s so easy to get into routines. I’m a creature of habit, so it’s very easy for me as well. Every once in a while you have the opportunity to step back and look at some of the most simple aspects of your routine and assess their benefits. I wanted to share one of my realizations with you in this blog. Quite simply, we are going to talk about where I stand during player workouts.


One of the great benefits of working in the NBA is only having to wear one hat at a time. As a youth or amateur coach, we aren’t always aware of the different hats we are expected or forced to wear because they’ve become such a part of our routine. At the NBA level, we have plenty of help to rebound and pass for player workouts, so I’m freed up to move around the floor. This was a big game changer for me. I started to learn about what I really wanted to see, where it needed to stand to see it, what details were most important, how the place I stand can speak for me, and how the place I stand can affect players in both a positive and negative way.

I had a reporter that knew nothing about basketball watching me put a player through a workout once, and her first question after was along the lines of “why do you stand behind players?” The answer is simple – that’s where I’ve learned that I can see one of the most important details in a player’s shot. As time goes by, I’ve learned to take advantage of other benefits as well. Standing behind the player allows the coach to better see the players perspective and the directional flight of the ball. It also allows me to stand closer to a player and be able to give them quiet reminders like I’m a voice in their head, rather than standing in front of them and being in their space.

I’ll also spend a fair amount of time standing at a 90-degree angle of the players shooting hand side, looking at the profile of their shot. Again, this is a helpful spot to stand in order to look at the things in want to see.

The same reporter also commented on how little I said in a particular workout. This made me smile because I realized I was able to give players feedback without saying a word. After a few weeks of working together, my players know what I’m looking at when I stand in different spots and they will focus on those things just knowing I’ll be looking for them. And if they see me walk to a particular spot with some urgency, well then they REALLY know to pay attention. All this feedback is given without saying a word and just with the player thinking about it they figure it out all by themselves.

Lastly, I started to give reassurance to players with how close I’ll stand to them. Early on this a player that is reconstructing their shot I’ll stand very close to them. This is partly out of necessity so that I can physically put them in the right positions but also as an unspoken reassurance that I’m there for them. As time goes by at the player starts to progress I’ll move further and further away, as if to say ” you’ve got this; I trust you”. The first day I stand at their side, after the first week I may be 8 feet away, and after a month I’m at the sideline.

So while the reality of an amateur coach may be that you have to stand under the hoop to grab rebounds, be aware of where you are standing and how it can help players looking to shoot.


  1. Richard Ward

    I would be very interested in any work/clinic if you were near Denver. I am a coach and am always looking to improve and someday work with professionals.
    Thank you

    • Coach Dave

      I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks. I’m always looking for new locations but need a group to host and help promote.


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